Art from the Ashes Final Event - Readings by the Literary Artists Tuesday Night

art from the ashes jpeg Tuesday night, join us for part three of Jasper's Art from the Ashes project -- a reading of the works in the monograph by the writers themselves.

7 pm at Tapp's

Readers include:

Betsy Breen - winner of the Best in Book Award, sponsored by Historic Columbia

Al Black

Jonathan Butler

Debra Daniel

Rachel Hainey

Ed Madden

Don McCallister

Tom Poland

Susan Levi Wallach

Cindi Boiter

Gallery West – Call for Submissions “Selfies, Real or Imagined: An Exhibition of Visual and Literary Art"

  Call to Artists

Gallery West is currently accepting submissions for its exhibition, Selfies: Real or Imagined, which will be held in late April of 2015. This exhibition will present a broad range of contemporary art and literature using all media in one, two or three-dimensional works. The exhibition is organized by Sara Cogswell, Director of Gallery West, and will include works by both emerging and established artists, internationally and from across the United States.

Social media and the mobile web have given rise to a strange phenomenon called the selfie. What is a selfie? A portrait of yourself, visual or written, usually shared on a social networking website. There are many selfie styles, and numerous psychological factors that might drive any specific person to create a selfie and share it.

This exhibition will explore the wide arena of selfies, either from the perspective of the artist or writer themselves, or an alter ego, as if from another person, animal, mythical or fantasy character…anything the artist or writer can imagine. Writers might share their visions of themselves in poetry or short verse.



  • Only unique, one-of-a-kind works of art and literature will be accepted. These may include drawing, painting, collage, prints, photography, sculpture, fiber, and ceramics. Multiples are not accepted.
  • A literary component has been added to expand the scope of this exhibition. Flash fiction, poetry, or prosetry, 500 words or less, will now be accepted. Accepted submissions in literature will be compiled into a chapbook, which will be edited by Susan Levi Wallach and Ed Madden, and published in limited edition by Muddy Ford Press.
  • A literary prize in the amount of $250 will be awarded to one writer. All writers whose work is accepted and included in the chapbook will receive two copies of the publication. Additional chapbooks will be published for purchase.


  • Artworks selected for inclusion in the exhibition must be suitably framed and/or made ready for installation, no exceptions.
  • All artworks must be for sale. A “Price on Request” designation is not acceptable. 
The submission of and entry to “Selfies: Real or Imagined” will constitute agreement by the entrant to all conditions set forth in this prospectus.
  • All submissions must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, January 16, 2015. Materials received after January 16 will not be considered. Gallery West assumes the responsibility of insuring and caring for works of art selected for exhibition at the gallery. The artist will cover shipping costs, arrange for transportation of art works to and from the gallery, and insure works while in transit. After works are selected for exhibition, the gallery reserves the right to photograph and reproduce images of selected entries for publication, education, and publicity purposes.Each artist may submit up to five jpeg images on CD (200 dpi or larger at 1024 x 768 pixels) to the Gallery West address, or via email ( Writers may submit up to five pieces, each 500 words or less, via email to (, or by mail to the Gallery West address below.Artists will be notified of their status by mid-February, 2015. A contract will be sent when participation is confirmed.
  • All images must be of works made within the past two years (between 2012-2014), and must be accompanied by a checklist of the works submitted for review, including title, date, materials, dimensions and price. Slides are not accepted.
  • Up to 5 images of recent work in jpeg format
for visual artists
  • Up to 5 submissions of written word, each 500 words or less
  • Detailed image list (including title, year, media, dimensions, and price)
  • Current resume or C.V. (please include mail and email address)
  • Artist statement


All submissions must be received by 5pm, January 16, 2015.

Please address submissions to:


Sara Cogswell, Director

Gallery West

118 State Street

West Columbia SC 29169



Announcing the Winners of Jasper's Fall Lines Writing Prizes

Fall Lines  


The Columbia Fall Line is a natural junction, along which the Congaree River falls and rapids form, running parallel to the east coast of the country between the resilient rocks of the Appalachians and the softer, more gentle coastal plain.


Jasper is delighted to announce the winners of the Fall Lines Poetry and Prose Writing Prizes sponsored by the Richland Library Friends and published in the inaugural issue of Fall Lines – a literary convergence.

Congratulations to Nicola Waldron, winner of the Broad River Prize for Prose for her piece "Dig and Delve," and to Mary Hutchins Harris, winner of the Saluda River Prize for Poetry for her poem, "Accidentals." A check for $250 accompanies each prize.

Work by Waldron and Harris will appear in Fall Lines along with poetry and prose by such award winning writers as Christopher Dickey, Josephine Humphries, and SC Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth, as well as Aida Rogers, Ray McManus, Susan Levi Wallach, Susan Laughter Meyers and more. Fall Lines is edited by Cynthia Boiter with poetry editor Ed Madden.

With a single annual publication, Fall Lines is distributed in lieu of Jasper Magazine’s regularly scheduled summer issue via a partnership between Jasper Magazine and Richland Library, the University of South Carolina Press, One Columbia, and Muddy Ford Press. The South Carolina Academy of Authors and Roe Young State Farm Insurance Agency also serve as generous sponsors of the literary journal.

Fall Lines will release on Sunday, June 8th with a 4 pm reception and reading at the Richland Library.

Review -- My First Time at Trustus by Susan Levi Wallach

my first time According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, new media are dictating the form of old: serialized books are returning to accommodate commuters who read on iPads and cellphones; once-marginalized short films are no longer relegated to the film-fest circuit but are online hits—and shorter than ever; albums (or whatever you call them, because they certainly aren’t vinyl and scratchy) can have as few as four songs.

It works the other way, too. Those tweets, posts, and blogs that used to give only “friends” and “followers” and the odd lurker access to the intimate details once the stuff of diaries? For the canny producer, it’s all material.

The producer in question here is Ken Davenport. The material was a string of anonymous website posts that Davenport turned into the play “My First Time,” which runs through April 27 in Trustus Theatre’s black box. “My First Time,” mostly a series of sliced-and-diced monologues and one-liners, premiered off-Broadway six years ago, when had close to 50,000 responses; the site has since grown to nearly 54,000. Imagine: all those people writing in their language of choice about the first time they Did It. With details, either true or wishful.

“My First Time” is a “Love Letters” for the new, no-such-thing-as-TMI millennium. As directed by Jade Johnson, it is well suited to the spare space at Trustus: the kind of show that you can get onstage on a dime and that, with a competent cast, is hard to mess up. Trustus’s four actors are up to the challenge, rendering such lines as “I know you’re not supposed to have physical relations with your stepsister” and “I was mesmerized by her boobies” with ease and panache.

For the most part, these are not heartwarming stories. Nor are they particularly erotic, or even really story-like: only a few have anything like plot, setting, and literary finesse. There’s little to visualize beyond erogenous zones. Some are monologues, others border on rants, because there’s often the sense of exhibitionism, of “I need to get this off my chest” here (and, yes, writing this review while avoiding all possible puns has proven impossible, thank you for noticing).

The result is ultimately a bit banal, despite the good efforts of the actors: Shane Silman, Trustus regular G. Scott Wild, and Trustus newcomers Brandi Perez and Jennifer Sanchez. Among the cast, the two men seem to have the better time as well as the better lines. All suffer a bit from overly harsh lighting that not only could be more nuanced but also could define the performance area more precisely.

The play runs for about ninety minutes with no intermission. Still, the conceit begins to wear thin well before the last line, the way that hearing a group of strangers describe the dreams they had last night would. If you go, plan to get there early enough to take the pre-curtain audience survey. The responses are part of the show—tabulated and displayed, along with assorted quotes and factoids about virginity and its absence, on the screens that dominate the set. In addition, the actors read a selection of excerpts. It’s a nice, personal touch that gives you the chance to wonder who around you would really say that to her old boyfriend if she had the chance.

“My First Time” will be onstage at the Trustus Side Door Theatre on April 26 and 27. For showtimes and to reserve tickets, call the box office at (803) 254-9732.

-- Susan Levi Wallach


Expecting Something at the Expecting Goodness Film Festival, by Susan Levi Wallach

Friday night with Melinda Cotton in the hotel bar: Kari Jackson called us brave—“us” being the writers who submitted short stories (their darling lambs) to the Expecting Goodness Film Festival, where twelve of them, shorn, would premiere as ten-minute films.  OK, not shorn.  Massaged, tweaked, re-imagined, visualized.  Those characters that had gamboled through our minds?  About to be up on the David Reid Theatre screen, in Spartanburg.

Earlier this evening, I sat with Matthew Fogarty (whose reading of “Denouement” rocked) and found out that we have more in common than Columbia: Neither of us had seen the films that tomorrow will be shown to a sold-out house, and both of our filmmakers had ditched our titles. “Denouement” was now “Resolution”; my “Simon of the Dessert” had become “Grace” (Bunuel does have a lock on the film title).

No matter. This is “a writer’s film festival.” We all are expecting goodness—that’s the name of the festival, and Kari, the festival’s associate director, has us feeling optimistic and bold. But at the end of the reading, which none of our filmmakers attended, Matthew and I are wondering—in a good, expectant way—what we’ll see tomorrow.

Melinda Cotton, the remaining Columbia writer, is better than optimistic. Her filmmaker, Durham Harrison, kept her involved throughout the process. Even let her attend the shoot. “I told him, ‘Here’s my heart,’ ” she said, referring to her story “Grammy’s Keys.” (Her filmmaker, his filmmaker:  Writers can be possessive—anything for the illusion of control.)

Question:  What if the movie I had running in my head while writing the story is not the movie that Adam had in his when he wrote the script?

Answer:  It probably isn’t.  And it doesn’t matter.  Really, it doesn’t.

 The morning after:

The Expecting Goodness Film Festival was a feat of organization, from the “red carpet” photo opps for the filmmakers and writers to the stick-to-the-schedule precision that had a seven-or-so-hour event wrap just about on time.  Not that anyone attends a film festival for anything other than the films. All of them had merit; a few were exceptional. Among the standouts was “Pretty Pitiful God,” by Columbia’s Jeffrey Driggers and Drew Baron, based on a short story by Deno Trakas (and featuring two of the Almor brothers, Itai and Gaal). Not only did it win the Jasper’s Pick Award but also a shout-out from Paris MTN Scout. “Resolution” made it to the screen only as a half-finished music video; “Grace,” which had almost nothing to do with my story, was a fabulous, comic riff on love and obsession.

 The writer of the short story, Deno, with my favorite film makers Jeff Driggers and Drew Baron — with Deno Trakas, Jeff Driggers and Drew Baron in Columbia.

Besides the six Expecting Goodness participants already mentioned, filmmakers Ron Hagell, Shirley Ann Smith, and John Daniel Fisher (who won Best Emerging Filmmaker for “Remember, No Thinking”) also live in the Columbia area.  The Nick will show all of the films from the Expecting Goodness Film Festival at a special screening on May 21 at 5:30 PM.

~ Susan Levi Wallach

The Next Big Thing - by Cindi Boiter

I feel a little guilty using What Jasper Said to post my answers to The Next Big Thing, the hot new meme going around our community in which writers tag one another and ask that they write about their newest projects. But given that my newest project was published by Muddy Ford Press and that MFP underwrites Jasper Magazine, there's a sweet symbiosis to it that I cannot deny. Here's how it works -- after having been tagged (my thanks to Cassie Premo Steele for tagging me), the newly tagged author is required to self-interview, answering 10 pre-determined questions. After having answered these questions, she tags another five writers to do the same.

Here goes.

What is the working title of your book?

The Limelight -- A Compendium of Contemporary Columbia Artists, volume 1

What is the genre of your book?

Essay collection

Where did the idea come from?

Columbia, SC is a city that is reeling with a multitude of artists from different genres, particularly the literary arts. We have an inordinate number of professional writers here, yet we don't really have a sense of ourselves as a writing community -- though we are. I'd love to play some part in helping us to form a more unified community of writers. I want Columbia to be known as a "writers' town." To that end, I invited 18 local writers to contribute first person narrative essays about another local artist -- writer, visual artist, musician, dancer, theatre artist, whatever -- who had influenced them in some way.  I had the pleasure of editing the essays.

Clearly, one volume is not enough to represent the artists and authors we have here, so I decided to serialize the compendium with the plan of publishing it on an annual basis.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Columbia, SC essayists sing the praises of Columbia, SC artists.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I issued the call for essays in the summer of 2012 with an autumn deadline. We went to press in February 2013.

Who or what inspired you to write it?

The community of Columbia artists.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My book was published by Muddy Ford Press.

What other books would you compare this book to within your genre?

I don't really know of any other books with the same model.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Well, there are 36 "characters" if we include both the contributors and the subjects of their essays.

The essay I wrote was about the artist Blue Sky, so, naturally Clint Eastwood would play Blue. For me? Lisa Kudrow or Terri Garr.

Ed Madden would be played by Jon Cryer and James Dickey by Jon Voight.

Jeffrey Day? Woody Allen, of course. James Busby would be played by Channing Tatum (that's right, I said it.)

I'd like to cast Christopher Walken to play someone, but I'm not sure who ... a much older Chad Henderson, maybe? Just for kicks?

Patrick Wilson would play Kyle Petersen with Sheryl Crow playing Danielle Howle (though I like Danielle's voice far better).

Billy Murray would play the part of Stephen Chesley and the part of Susan Lenz would be played by Julia Louis Dreyfus.

Vicky Saye Henderson would play herself.

What else about your manuscript might pique the reader's interest?

Some of the first lines are spectacular. For example, poet Ray McManus opens his essay about Terrance Hayes with this, "When you're a boy growing up in rural South Carolina, and you want to be a poet, you should first learn to fight."

And ballet dancer Bonnie Boiter-Jolley's first line about her mentor Stacey Calvert is brutally honest when she says, "When I first met Stacey Calvert over a decade ago, she explained to me how being a dancer is a very selfish thing."

And there are 16 more.


That's the end of the interview and I have to admit that it was fun. In an effort to share the fun and keep this meme going I'm tagging Aida Rogers, Don McCallister, Debbie Daniel, Kristine Hartvigsen, and Susan Levi Wallach. And I'm inviting them all to post their answers to me so I can share them with our readers. I think there's something about Wednesdays and deadlines also as I was tagged on a Wednesday and told to blog on the next Wednesday. So, by next Wednesday, I hope to have even more Next Big Things to share.

Thanks for reading,





Two New Writers Join the Jasper Staff

We couldn't be more delighted to announce that two new staff writers have come on board the Jasper bandwagon. Many of you will already be familiar with these names and faces -- or at least the hair. Please help us welcome Susan Levi Wallach and Alex Smith to the Jasper family.

Susan Levi Wallach has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her short stories have appeared in Best Fiction, Fogged Clarity, Stone's Throw, and Monarch Review; her articles in a number of theatre, technology, and military publications; her poems in emails to her children. She won a Keith D. Ware Journalism Award from the Department of Defense in 2003. She is a freelance copy editor.


Alex Smith refuses to decide. He produces, acts, designs, and directs for the stage; acts in, writes, produces directs, shoots, scores and edits film; is an accomplished and prolific visual artist; has published a book of his poetry; and (given the right circumstances) has been known to sing every now and then, and, even more rarely, to dance. He heads the Sports desk at Jasper Magazine. (No, he doesn't.)



Susan Lenz Shares her Jasper Story -- and more from Susan Levi Wallach

OK, we admit that this post may seem a bit like a link in a never-ending daisy chain of congratulations, but Susan Lenz, our March cover artist's post on her own blog made us so giddily happy that we decided to share it with  you, too. Please check out Susan's blog here or read below.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Jasper Magazine ... COVER GIRL!

(Cover of Jasper Magazine ... This link will navigate you to the on-line issue ... Vol. 001, No. 004 ... March/April 2012.)

I've known this was coming and I really hated missing the magazine's launch party last week ... but at least today's mail brought the new issue of Jasper Magazine! My work is the cover and the magazine carries a great article with a most amazing photo of me! (I usually hate photos of me ... but I guess a real professional like Mark Green knows how to shoot even people like me with a squinting eye and a lop-sided smile!)

(The page directly behind the cover!)

The cover is bright pink (Women's History Month!) and includes a section that appears like a hole ... with a view to the page directly behind it .... Time, my new 3D assemblage piece! What a way to debut a new series than to have a work on the cover of an arts magazine!

(Page One of the article. Click on image to enlarge and read!)

The article is great too ... thanks to a lovely interview with Susan Levi Wallach. Opposite the first page of the article is ...

...this incredible photo of me in a "nest" of my own yarn, fabric, and thread! It was taken on the floor outside my studio door at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios ... same location where the magazine hosted a party last week.

(Above: Photo from the Jasper Magazine launch party at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios ... found on my Facebook page! Sorry I missed you all!)

When turning the page, one sees my Spool Cradle and the second page of the article!

(Above: Page Two of the article. Click on image to enlarge and read!) THANK YOU Susan Levi Wallach, Cindi Boiter, Mark Green, and the entire staff at Jasper Magazine for making this possible! Thank you to my husband Steve for sending a copy via priority mail! Yes, this is a PRIORITY!)

Thanks to Susan Levi Wallach for writing the article. And please allow us to direct you to more of the writer's work -- this time fiction -- Alec in the Moonlight.